Backpack giveaway continues to help kids get ready for school

Filed under DAYTONA BEACH

BY ANDREAS BUTLER
DAYTONA TIMES

School is right around the corner as Volusia County schools are scheduled to begin a new academic year on Aug. 20.

It’s also time for the Mayor’s Backpack Give-A-Way in Daytona Beach..

Youngsters expressed their approval after receiving their free backpacks and school supplies at a previous giveaway event sponsored by the City of Daytona Beach.

“We quickly recognized the need for more assistance. Kids often disconnect because they don’t have adequate school supplies. Having the right supplies could make the difference between a successful school year and a failure,” said Mayor Glenn Ritchey during a press conference last week.

Sites for supplies
There are several sites where local children can receive free backpacks and school supplies.

The first event is 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Aug. 4 at Derbyshire Park, 849 Derbyshire Road. Another will be from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 6 at Lennox Park, 825 S. Grandview Ave. The last event is Aug. 11 at the John H. Dickerson Community Center, 308 S. Martin Luther King Blvd. The time is from 9 a.m. – 11 a.m.

The supplies are for youngsters 5 through 18. The backpacks will contain supplies such as paper, pencils, pens, erasers, socks and underwear.

High school and middle school backpacks also will include a composition book and a calculator.

Free hot dogs and water will be given away too to patrons at the giveaway events.

From 240 to 3,050 given
This is the sixth year of the giveaway. During the inception, a total of 240 backpacks were given away. Now, a total of 3,050 are being distributed with $25 worth of school supplies inside each backpack.

“It actually started with us just giving those backpacks to kids in our after-school program but the mayor and other officials decided to branch it out. Since then, it has really grown and expanded citywide,” said Percy Williamson, Daytona Beach’s Leisure Services director.

Sponsors for the event include Walmart, Pepsi Bottling Company and Frito Lay.

Big help for local parents
“Parents have come to depend upon it. It really helps out a lot of people especially with today’s economic situation. This helps parents with not having to buy so many and sometimes no school supplies,” Williamson explained.

Vendors also will be at the giveaway sites.

“It’s just so much more going on. So many other vendors will be on hand providing much-needed services.

The people really get a lot,” added Williamson.

Parents are required to accompany their children and have a valid ID at the event.

For more information, contact Leisure Services at 386-671-8337.

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